Dear Family and Friends of THC

We have been actively seeking the details about how assistive technology can be accessed from NDIA plans, following this announcement from NDIA almost two weeks ago. The following details were released yesterday on the NDIA website and are included below for your information……

In the case of computer tablets for telehealth and care or participating in online video classes, advice from AT specialists is that most NDIS participants will not need more than a standard tablet, which costs no more than $600. (THC understands that a laptop can be purchase for up to $750).

Participants can use their funding flexibly to purchase low cost AT using funding in their core – consumables budget. Plan managed or self-managed participants can purchase these items from any provider, and Agency managed participants can purchase these from any registered NDIS provider (this could include a therapy or support coordination provider). 

This is a time limited policy which will be in place until September 2020 and will be reviewed at the end of June 2020.

This new approach acknowledges many face to face services are being suspended, and capacity building supports and interpreting services which cannot be delivered face to face are now being delivered online. 

We know not all participants have funding available in core budgets for consumables – so we are working on a system update to make sure this flexibility is available to everyone. This change will happen automatically on 9 May 2020. 

Participants who only have funding in their capacity building budget will be able to use a special line item to enable use of this new flexible approach. 

The following items and circumstances are excluded from this policy:

The item does not relate to the participants disability. A participant cannot purchase a smart device for entertainment, education or gaming. A participant cannot purchase fitness equipment not previously used or recommended by the participant’s provider or therapist in existing funded supports.

    • Devices with extra specifications above the basic model. A participant can only purchase device which is fit for purpose for maintaining NDIS funded supports. The NDIS will generally fund the lowest specification. Top of the range specifications can only be justified if they are required as a result of a person’s disability. For example: Therabands and a fitness ball may be sufficient to maintain an exercise program rather than a gym set. In the case of computer solutions, only participants who require ‘head tracking’ and other solutions are likely to need a large screen tablet, most other participants would only require entry level tablet. You should consult a specialised AT provider to advise you on any more complex products before making a purchase.

    • Smart phones or tablets with mobile connections cannot be purchased. Video conferencing and other functionality participants will need to access supports is available on tablets or computers which are in scope and connect using wifi

    • Participants cannot purchase multiple devices. A single item can be purchased, where the participant does not already own or have access to a device that would meet their needs to continue to access supports and services. This includes if the participant already owns or has access to a suitable device through:

      • Existing individual or family ownership

      • Employment (for the purpose of working remotely) 

      • Education (for the purpose of studying remotely) 

    • Replacements for loss or damage will generally follow the existing NDIS AT replacement policy (noting that replacement of items will generally not apply once this policy ends).

    • Internet connection and data, these are considered ordinary living costs (utilities) and are excluded from this policy.

    • Software. This policy will not fund applications or software, however apps which have been specified and approved in a plan can be paid for with NDIS funding. 

    • Additional hardware or accessories, other than standard protective cases will not be funded by the NDIS. This includes:

      • Screen Protector

      • Aditional or back up charges 

      • Selfie Sticks

      • Connection cables

Additional hardware and accessories may be purchased if they relate to ush as mounting on aing the device because of the participant’s disability, suc wheelchair for a person with limited grip or rugged case where related to behaviour issues.

Purchase of items when renting the item might be a better option. For example, for some items that cost more than $100, participants should consider renting these items during the COVID-19 constraints if that would be better value for money than purchasing them. 

Please contact us if you require assistance or further information around this.

Please check our this weeks video #StayRelax with Paddy

On our Facebook page you can also find the video from the previous two weeks #stayhealthy and #stayproductive.

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